JSPS awards for eminent scientists
 

Report on the JSPS Award for Eminent Scientists FY2010


  1. Host Researcher

    Name: KOBAYASHI Yuji
    Osaka University of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Professor


  2. Invited eminent scientist (name, title and affiliation, nationality)

    Ada E. Yonath
    Weizmann Institute for Science, Professor of Department of Structural Biology and Director of The Helen and Minton A. Kimmelman Center for Biomolecular Structure and Assembly


  3. Duration of the stay

    From Friday, December 3, 2010 to Friday, December 17, 2010 (15 days)



  4. 4. Schedule during the stay (date, research activities, name of the places to visit, and description of the visits )

    Year/Month/Day Visiting place/Contents
    December 3 (Arrival in Japan)
    Arrived at Kansai Airport.
    Traveled to Ibaraki by taxi.
    Checked into hotel.
    December 4 Delivered a lecture for "The 60th Memorial Symposium of the Crystallographic Society of Japan" at MO Hall Convention Center at Osaka University.
    Participated in reception party for “The 5th International Peptide Symposium / The 47th Japanese Peptide Symposium” at Kyoto International Conference Center.
    December 5 Attended at “The 5th International Peptide Symposium / The 47th Japanese Peptide Symposium” 
    Participated in speakers’ dinner at Grand Prince Hotel Kyoto
    December 6 Attended at “The 5th International Peptide Symposium / The 47th Japanese Peptide Symposium”
    December 7 Attended at “The 5th International Peptide Symposium / The 47th Japanese Peptide Symposium”
    December 8 Attended at “The 5th International Peptide Symposium / The 47th Japanese Peptide Symposium”
    Delivered a special invited lecture titled “The striking ribosomal architecture: Nascent proteins voyage from making to initial folding”
    December 9 Attended at “The 5th International Peptide Symposium / The 47th Japanese Peptide Symposium”
    Participated in the banquet at Grand Prince Hotel Kyoto
    December 10 Free
    December 11 Delivered a lecture at “The Special Lecture Meeting of Prof. Ada Yonath”, at Nara Women’s University
    December 12 Participated at the Special Meeting for High School Students: “Lecture by Prof. Ada Yonath and a get-together with Nobel Laureate” at Osaka University of Pharmaceutical Sciences.
    December 13 Delivered a lecture at “The Special Lecture Meeting of Frontier Research Center of Drug Design”, at Kyoto Pharmaceutical University.
    December 14 Delivered a lecture titled “Amazing Ribosome” as “The Special Lecture of Prof. Ada Yonath” at Department of Biophysics, Kyoto University.
    December 15 Delivered a lecture at “The Special Lecture Meeting of Bio-Forum” at Kyoto Sangyo University.
    December 16 Moved to Osaka,  Transferred from Osaka-Itami Airport to Tokyo-Haneda Airport
    December 17 Departed from Tokyo Haneda Airport at 0:30 am
    (Left Japan)


  5. Description of and results from the invitation

    Osaka University of Pharmaceutical Sciences invited Professor Ada E. Yonath (Weizmann Institute of Science, Nobel Laureate in Chemistry, 2009) from December 3 to December 16 for the JSPS Invitation Award for Eminent Scientists supported by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science. The outlines of educational activities, academic exchanges and cooperative research are as follows.
      She attended “The 5th International Peptide Symposium / The 47th Japanese Peptide Symposium” held at Kyoto International Conference Center during the whole session and gave a talk about her research work as the special invited lecture. She was always an active participant during the meeting by addressing critical questions and giving suggestive comments.
      Furthermore, Prof. Yonath presented several lectures in a relatively short span of period not only at her host university, Osaka University of Pharmaceutical Sciences but also Kyoto University, Nara Women’s University, Kyoto Pharmaceutical University and Kyoto Sangyo University.
      For example, the host university, Osaka University of Pharmaceutical Sciences organized a unique seminar for high school students. Prof. Yonath gave an introductive talk about the Nobel Lecture which had been given at her award ceremony and joined the get-together with high school students. Nara Women’s University organized another unique lecture meeting for female students under the joint auspices with Osaka University of Pharmaceutical Sciences. Prof. Yonath understood the intention of the organizer and motivated these students to be scientists by telling about episodes in her poor and telling how she overcame difficulties during her research. We organizers are deeply satisfied with her accomplishments. Because all these lecture meetings were opened to public, there were a variety of audiences from academic institutions and industries. By deepening academic exchange with a large number of scientists, Prof. Yonath has shared her ideas with the society and contributed to the development of science in Japan.

  6. Contributions to the Host Institute
      Prof. Yonath received the Nobel Prize Chemistry in 2009 for her structural analysis of ribosome which translates genetic information coded on mRNA to produce protein. The host, Osaka University of Pharmaceutical Sciences has regarded structural biology as of major importance. Thus, even though it is a single collage, there are three laboratories (Ishida, Doi, Kobayashi) where many young researchers and students engage in X-ray crystal analysis with a Rigaku FR-E+SuperBright, which is the most powerful in house X-ray generator in Japan. Among them, Prof. Kobayashi and his coworkers first determined the structure of the ribosome recycling factor, which is essential for prokaryote. Using this structural information, they are trying to make a new antibiotic by rational design of inhibitors for the factor. Because of these common research targets, Kobayashi has become acquainted with Prof. Yonath. Kobayashi as a member of the organizing committee took the opportunity of the International Peptide Symposium held in Kyoto to invite her to address a plenary lecture. In Osaka University of Pharmaceutical Sciences, there are young researchers and students trying to crystallize a ribosome of higher organisms, determine the structure of ribosomal proteins and search for compounds to inhibit the conformational change of RRF and trigger factors. Because they could talk directly with her to ask questions and discuss science, they not only enjoyed having her knowledge of structural biology but also were impressed with her enthusiasm and fascination with science. This experience should provide them guiding principles for their future life as scientists. Furthermore, it is noteworthy that we agreed that we will perform the joint research using her technique of crystallography and Kobayashi’s technique to characterize macromolecules in solution.
      This invitation has obtained excellent results not only in the host university mentioned above but also in various institutions across the nation. Although researchers studying RNA in Japan have organized the RNA Society and comprise a wide research network, the ties among people who work on the complicated ribosome itself are rather weak. Thus we asked her to visit and give lectures in institutes to which these ribosome people belonged. As mentioned above, we had meetings, lectures and discussions open to public in six universities in addition to three big lecture meetings. In conclusion, we have accomplished the aim of this project. Her successful visit provided many people with a chance to come in contact with top-level research and provided a stimulus to female scientists and high school students as well.


 
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